We have been getting a lot of practice members who now have “cell phone neck pain.” I was sitting at a restaurant the other day observing my surroundings, and to my amazement I witnessed half the restaurant eating while looking at their phones or tablets. In addition, we have an increasingly large amount of jobs that require long hours sitting at a computer. I think there was even a video of a lady walking into a fountain at a mall she was so distracted by her cell phone. All kidding aside, what we have lost is the ‘arc of life.’ This arc, better know as the curve in your neck, should be a lordotic or reversed curve, however, while looking down, we reverse our curve. This reversal or kyphosis causes pressure to increase at the level of the brainstem. In fact, when we lose the curve in our spine, we increase the pressure 300% which takes a ten-pound head and makes it feel as though it weighs 30 pounds. Even worse it can cause a spinal condition called vertebral subluxation where the bone goes out of position creating nerve pressure and affecting surrounding organs. It is no wonder we have so many people with neck and shoulder tension each and every day.
Well, you can’t quit your job; we aren’t stopping the overflow of communication devices anytime soon. I have even seen restaurants with mobile tablets at the table for customers to order their own food. The question is what can we do about it to counteract some of the challenges this can cause our health. Losing the curve in your spine not only increases the downward force on your neck and shoulders, but also affects the brainstem and can be linked to headaches, blood pressure, allergies, sinus problems, and immune challenges to name a few. If you work at a desk, it is vital to stretch before, during and after work. One of my strategies for our practice members is drink the proper amount of water so you must go to the bathroom once an hour to ensure you move around. We can strengthen our spine with proper ergonomics while you sit, use an exercise ball to sit on, create a standing work station, just to name a few strategies. This arc of life is essential to allow proper spinal development, posture, and overall health. A reminder, “as the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”